NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 18 March) – The COVID-19 pandemic is a small thing in our lives. But the small thing matters; the excellent response of the national leadership to it – to the crisis, is making waves.
The country holds the undisputed record of having imposed the longest lockdown in the whole world, where the pandemic response strategy is placed in the hands of the military.
Over 635,600 people got sick and 12,866 had perished so far.
The infection cases have been spiking in the periphery of 5000 daily, with over 56,000 active cases, making the Philippines the epicenter of the pandemic in Southeast Asia.
Our daily infection caseload is currently one of the highest in the world, worrying experts all over on its implications to our health care system and our national well-being.
The economy has contracted by some 10 percent, the highest in history since the 50s.
Four million Filipinos were jobless as of January 2021, a stiff climb from the 2.4 million during the same month in 2020.
Some 7 million workers had lower working hours and lower incomes or are underemployed.
More Filipinos joined the rank of the poor, where the 22 million in 2018 who lived below the poverty line are now estimated to have ballooned to 24-25 million.
We’re the only country where health effort against the pandemic has been riddled by graft and corruption issues exemplified in the dispensation of the state health insurance benefits (PhilHealth), in the acquisition of PPEs, and even in the purchase of the COVID-19 vaccine.
We hold the record as the first country in the Asian Region to have the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, using smuggled COVID-19 vaccine in the clandestine inoculation of elite state security forces and some officials of the land.
We likewise hold the record as the last state in the Region to carry out an official vaccine rollout that was only made possible with donated vaccine from China and from the WHO.
The pace of the vaccination is such that we may attain herd immunity only after a decade or more, which would be another pandemic record for us.
The small thing in our lives has made a huge difference.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental)